Putting aside food crisis, G8 leaders enjoy exotic feast

The leaders of the world's major industrialised countries may have been discussing the spiralling global food crisis at a summit in northern Japan, but they did not lose their appetites when confronted with an eight-course, 19-dish dinner prepared by 25 chefs, reports said on Tuesday.

Commentators were scathing about the feast of costly delicacies, which included milk-fed lamb and corn stuffed with caviar. A report in the Guardian newspaper said: "not since Marie Antoinette was supposed to have leaned from a Versailles palace window and suggested that the breadless peasants eat cake can leaders have demonstrated such insensitivity to daily hardship."

Andrew Mitchell, a British politician from the opposition Conservative party, said: "The G8 have made a bad start to their summit, with excessive cost and lavish consumption."

The World Food Programme recently announced that high food prices were creating the biggest challenge it had faced in its 45-year history, referring to "a silent tsunami" that could plunge more than 100 million people on every continent into hunger.

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